Date: 07-26-2011 23:31
Author: Jesse Dietderich

PDC profile: Jesse

Originally found in arcade cabinets from the 80s, Marvin's Maze out-dates any of the other game's I've previously reviewed. My extremely low expectations were surprisingly meet with a fairly polished presentation of a classic.

Insert Coin

This PlayStation Mini is nearly an exact port of the 1983 arcade game. The developers only added a few splash screens when the game starts up, a modern menu to adjust some of the game's settings, and a save system so that your high scores don't go anywhere when you turn the game off. Being a classic arcade machine, I thought that there wouldn't be a story. Boy was I wrong!
Marvin's Maze entire story
Once upon a time, Marvin lived in his maze and everything was wonderful .... until the Robonoids came!

Alright, maybe not as exciting a story as one might hope for, but remember, this is an arcade game. Aside from this flashing on the title screen, the game also informs you of how points are earned and what the high score currently is to beat. I thought at first the game was broken because the normal buttons (Start, , or ) would not allow me to start the game. It was then that I figured out you needed to push to insert a coin before starting the game with a push of the Start button. A while later I found that you can actually change all the button functions in the game and it also clued me into how to start a 2 player game, which by default is the left shoulder button. While in-game, the only button I used was the to fire lasers at the robonoid enemies, and switched back and forth between the directional pad and the analog to move Marvin around his maze. The gameplay was decent and I enjoyed how I needed to think ahead and plan my path to avoid the robonoids until I collected the lasers to take then out. The difficultly quickly ramps up if you take too long to finish a stage because enemies keep spawning every few seconds. Every stage has two levels connected by elevators, and there are paths that can allow you to cross over gaps which come in very handy when Marvin needs to escape a pesky robonoid. If timed right, the ground can be removed from underdeath an enemy which makes them twirl in the air and die. I found this nearly as satisfying as shooting them with the lasers and watching them disintegrate. However, the main goal of each stage is to collect the dots that are scattered about the maze. It would be this challenging gameplay that people remember the most about the game, and would be the primary reason for me to recommend it to anyone.

As for the rest of the game, it is some what bland. It is hard to knock the graphics of the game, but by today's standards this game wouldn't fly at all. The chirps and short segments of audio are alright, but not anything to write home about. There is a 2 player mode that alternates between players rather than them both playing at the same time. There seemed to be a lack of diversity, until I stumbled across the added menu screen (accessed by pressing the Select button) that is not from the original game. It allows you to adjust the number of starting lives, whether or not you lose a life if you get caught by the robonoids, when bonus points are rewarded, re-map the three buttons you use in the game, and so on. The option that I thought that I would enjoy the most was for the screen size, which allowed me to switch between normal and stretched. It really didn't alter the screen at all except that in when you were in "normal" mode, the screen would have art on either side to fill up the screen, and when in "stretched" mode, there would simply be black empty space. I was hoping for a slightly distorted enlarged view, and it would have been very helpful for when I was playing this game on my PSP Go. Because of this, my preferred method of play was on my PS3 to provide a better view of the game's pixelated graphics.

My Final Words
For being nearly three decades old, Marvin's Maze does a decent job of remaining somewhat interesting. The game probably isn't for everyone, and I would expect most people to get tired of it rather quickly. I would have likely played it longer myself, if I didn't have other games that are waiting for me to play them. I'd rather find other reasons for rating this game low, other than it is old, but there really isn't much to complain about. The game seemed like it would have been a blast playing it in the arcade with your buddies around with everyone trying to beat the latest high score. I'd recommend this PlayStation Mini to those who truly enjoy old school arcade games, such as Pac-Man. But a warning is going out to the rest of you that you will be spending your money on a game that feels very old and you shouldn't expect any upgrades or polish.

G1M2 is the developer responsible for porting Marvin's Maze into PlayStation Minis format. It has been released in North American on the PSN at a fairly standard Mini price of $2.99. I put in an hour of play split between my PS3 and PSP Go.

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